The cyber-war against the media

On Tuesday, the New York Post became the latest to fall victim as several reporters’ Twitter accounts were apparently hacked by a group supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Cybersecurity experts say that hackers — ranging from those linked to foreign governments to shadowy, “hacktivist” groups to lone wolves — are increasingly targeting the press. In the past year, a host of other prominent news outlets, including The Associated Press, The New York Times, Reuters and NPR, among others, have been hit by high-profile assaults. Experts say it’s high time journalists recognize their vulnerability and adopt more safeguards to protect themselves and the information they have.

The media have become a major front on the cyber battlefield because hackers can use news outlets to put out false information instantly to a large audience, exploit a big platform for political propaganda and acquire confidential information on sources or upcoming stories, experts told POLITICO.

“It’s certainly on the rise this year. It is a big ego thing. It’s great publicity, if you want to get your name out, and that’s satisfying all those buttons for them,” said attorney Claudia Rast at the law firm of Butzel Long, who has counseled companies on legal issues related to privacy and data security. “It’s not going away.”